I’m not really one for conferences and network events, therefore, the thought of going to NHS Hack day 23, on a Saturday sounded ridiculous to me. That said, for some unbeknown reason I plucked up the courage and attended.
I done a bit of research beforehand to know what I was stepping into and from what I gathered it seemed like nothing I’ve been to before. The concept is simple, NHS Hospital staff, patients, and people interested in health and wellbeing would pitch what they feel is a current problem and then a load of tech loving digital superheroes would work together to try and resolve it.
At the event we were all seated (130 in attendance) in a lecture hall and then asked if anyone had any pitches to line up against the wall. Each pitch could only last 60 seconds max which gave the person enough time to provide the problem, to my absolute shock around 25 people got up and waited their turn. I was so inspired by everyone’s pitches that it gave me the courage to line up and pitch myself.
There are a large number of older people schemes and I would like to look at how to help residents engage on community activities to reduce social isolation – is there a cheaper option than video conferencing? Following the pitches, we all went into the main hall where the pitchers wrote their problem on flip chart paper and stuck onto board for others to see and provide help any way they can. I have never seen anything quite so special, while I stood next to my flip chart paper I was bombarded with contacts, programmes, links of reference and people interested to find out more. What I gained in that 30 minutes would have taken me months of researching to acquire. What made a different from all the other talking shops I’ve been to previously was the fact that a small project group was formed on the day to work on resolving this problem.
The team; Owen, Ashley, Tayo and myself explored everything from size requirements of video display, screen mirroring from a tablet or Alexa, best way of promoting activities and keeping service users informed, to ease of use of setting up and using system.
Having carried out a detailed analysis of current systems we agreed upon connecting a Portal TV from Facebook onto the free internet provided and into a TV set up in the communal lounges of the Independent Living Schemes. Setting up each of the schemes with a Facebook account and befriending each other would allow the Portal by Facebook to transform their TV into Video Conferencing.
To promote upcoming activities, we agreed on using the Facebook accounts to add posters of the activities and activate the Superframe which would turn the TV’s into digital displays. Along with this we also thought we would utilise the Alexa features built into the Portal from Facebook and connect a calendar, therefore when populated with activities the service user would only need to say, ‘Alexa, what’s in my calendar’ to find out all upcoming activities.
Following NHS Hack day 23, our project group is still running strong, fully engaged in the testing phase of the project and committed to seeing this project through to the end.
I hope in the future other sectors can learn from events such as NHS Hack day and replicate their culture of collaboration throughout different industries into their conferences and network events.
This is Scott Tandy signing out